What time do your children go to bed? And you??

what time do your children go to bedBedtime! It’s a bit of a challenge for us, with 5 children in our house (aged between 0 to 13). We’re not overly strict, but in an IDEAL WORLD, this is our weekday schedule:

  • Casper (5) 7:30PM
  • Ava (8) 8:00PM
  • Pim (11) 8:30PM
  • Sara (13) 9:00PM

Which means that we go upstairs around 7:15 to wash, brush teeth and put pyjamas on. While I deal with baby Bram, Tamar brushes Casper and Ava’s teeth and reads Casper a little story. He ought to be in bed by 7:30; usually he’s pretty tired and happy to go to sleep by that time!

I then sit down with the oldest three to read (Narnia, at this moment) until around 8PM. In the meantime, Tamar cleans up downstairs. Then Ava and Pim go to bed — Pim may read for half an hour. Sara is usually still doing something in her room at that point (preparing her book bag for the next day, for example), but I like her to be in bed by 8:30. She’s allowed to read till 9PM — she might be a teenager now, but I feel she still needs quite a lot of sleep!

What time do your children go to bed?

But… As I mentioned, this is the ideal scenario. Because often, and especially in summer, we don’t even finish dinner before 8. The kids are happily running around in the garden, or playing on the pavement with their neighbours. Tamar and I have a glass of wine and it’s all so lovely that we just let it go and enjoy the moment. By the time we finally decide to call in the troops, it’s often after 8! And so Casper goes to bed with dirty feet and no story, and so do the rest… But we just love these slow, happy evenings!

I’m curious — what time do your children go to bed?? Are you very strict about it? And what about your own bedtime??? I’m often in bed around 9:30! I like to relax and read for a bit, but sometimes I fall asleep before Tamar even comes to bed!

xxx Esther


Comments (18)

Marta - italian expat in Norway
May 31, 2018

Bedtime is often the most stressfull time for me because for some reason that’s when my sons, who looked very tired just a few moments earlier, suddenly want to play and jump. I have a 3 years oled and a six years old en i my ideal word they would start the bedtime routin at 7:30, be in bed at 8:00, and read a stoy until 08:30: but it never happens. Especially now in the summertime, because as you say it’s just nice to live in the moment.
I wonder, when do your children wake up? Mine at 7:30, but it can take a while to get them out of bed…..

Esther in Amsterdam
June 1, 2018

We all wake up at 7 to have breakfast together before school! And it does sound familiar, the ideal world scenario vs. the real life scenario 😉

May 31, 2018

I wish it was that easy!!! I have an 18 y/o boy who thinks do not need sleep and so by 11 pm we are practically sceaming for him to turn his lights out !!! A 16 y/o who ends up in bed lights out by 10 pm and my 12 who thinks she’s 18 and fights bed time like she’s 3, and is in bed by 10 pm!! But I promised myself to be a bit more strict in the next school year…hopefully.

Esther in Amsterdam
June 1, 2018

Oh I’m sure things will change here in the next few years! I can now still explain to Sara that she will have more fun during the day if she’s well rested…

May 31, 2018

Do you children sleep during the day? Mine sleep 1,5 h at noon, she wakes up at 7.15 (on the dot by herself!) and she sleep ideally at 9.30! And she is only 3! I think most children in Greece do not sleep before 9… which is a bad habit…

Esther in Amsterdam
June 1, 2018

Casper sometimes has a little nap and Bram sleeps during the day, obviously, but none of the others do. We don’t traditionally have a siesta here in the NLs. I think when you sleep for a few hours at noon it’s ok to go to bed later, no? In hot climates it makes sense!

Katie (UK)
May 31, 2018

I have a 5yo and 2yo who are early risers therefore bedtime here is usually by 7 (often earlier!). We come straight up after dinner to start a wind down to bedtime routine and showers which often has the opposite effect of a ‘mad hour’! They are usually ready for bed swiftly after this although naps sometimes throw a spanner in the works. I would like to be a bit more flexible, especially over the summer with longer evenings, however with 5.30/6 am starts they can’t always keep going! xx

Esther in Amsterdam
June 1, 2018

Whoa that’s early! My kids usually wake later — Weekdays at 7, weekends even later…

June 1, 2018

I have a 4.5 year old son and a 2 year old daughter who share a room, and an 8 month old son in his own room. I start putting the baby down at 6:45 and am done by 7-7:05. My husband puts the other two down the the same time and I come kiss them when I’m done with the baby. They go down early because they share a room and normally don’t actually fall asleep until 7:30-7:45.

I go to bed between 9:30-10:30 usually. Depends on how into reading or a show I am.

June 1, 2018

This is a very timely post for me – with my oldest (who is the same age as Pim) we have just started to have discussions about bed times as many of the children in his class are allowed to stay up much later than he (or Pim) are.

For special events, we let them stay up later, but ours are in bed at 7:30-8:00 (for the 7 and 9 year old) – unless I forget and read too much of the Hobbit to the 9 year old and it gets later! The oldest is in bed by 8:00, sometimes a bit later if he has had a late training and sometimes earlier. He thinks that this is the height of indignity as many of his friends are up much later (for example watching football matches etc on television), However, he does so much sport that he needs lots of sleep and even on a Saturday night we are pretty strict with bedtimes as he has 4 hours of tennis competition on a Sunday…

On a weekday they are up at 6:30/40 (although we often spend the first 10 minutes of the day in our bed snuggling) and at the weekends they are not allowed to disturb us before 7!

Einat (Israel)
June 1, 2018

Here in Israel we are used to be up until late. People work here until late and therefore the family time after work starts late. It’s not considered rude to call someone after 21:00 and it’s possible to get a text message from the teacher in those hours as well. Parents whatsapp groups are alive until 23:00… I guess it’s the result of the open and honest Israeli lifestyle (which one can think is limitless). Anyway, my little kids (4,8) go to sleep around 20:30, my 12 years old daughter sleeps around 22:00 and the teenager (17) goes to bed around 23:00. If not a school night, even later. We go to bed around midnight. I wish I could go to bed earlier..

Esther in Amsterdam
June 5, 2018

Do your kids have a siesta? Or do they sleep in in the morning? I think bedtimes are usually later in hot climates — makes sense to make the most of a chill evening ;)!

June 1, 2018

My husband always works till late. I have dinner with my three girls (4, 5 en just 7) at 17.30-18u. Then they have to clean up their toys, put their pyjama’s on and brush their theeth. I help with that. If everything is tidy they may watch tv (klokhuis en jeugdjournaal), but I’m not going to replay it. So if they hurry theu can watch it all, otherwise just a part…. (I just started this routine, because if it’s up to them they go to bed late, they are never tired).
After the tv we go upstairs again and put the clothes for the next day ready. And then I read them together. They live it, so often an illustrationbook and a chapterbook. At 20u the light will go out. My eldest may read till 20.30u. I want her to go to bed earlier, but she is very difficult in just lay down and rest. Like she’s restless… She often comes downstairs telling us she can’t sleep. It’s not rare she’s still wasje at 21.30u…. Unfortunately our youngest is the same. When we lay down next to her she falls asleep easier. But we don’t want to make that a standaard (sometimes I wake up at 22u realising I still have a lot to do…) Our second girl is easy. She is just tired and don’t mind going to bed. When she doesn’t fall asleep right ahead she just plays a little with her plush animals. An ideal sleeper 😉

June 1, 2018

We are very strict with bed times. No matter what time our daughters go to bed they will be up at the same time in the morning. If they go to bed late they are on the Hot Mess Express. When all three of mine shared a room (4, 6.5, 8) bedtime at 8 pm. My youngest would just go right to sleep and wanted to go to sleep. My middle would drift off and my oldest we’d allow to use her reading light until 8:15. We would go up at 7 pm, and those that needed to take a bath or shower would do so. Everyone else had to get ready for bed and be in bed no later than 7:45. At that time they could either read or write stories in their journal. Even in the summer time we adhere to the 8 pm bedtime. We just moved and each one has their own room. It’s less stressful and we now have Emma in bed at 7:45, Zoe at 8 pm and Sophia at 8:15 pm. This works for us and our family really well.

June 5, 2018

I know what you are talking about, our son (12) does a lot of sport in the evening, so he has to shower every evening and this takes time. So normally he is in bed around 8:30-9:00. Since he turned 12 he starts arguing, I can´t sleep I want to stay up longer, bla bla, but we are very strict at school nights ( at the weekend it is mosty between 9-10 when he goes to bed), because otherwise he can´t focus in school the next morning, which starts at 7:40.
We normal go to bed at 10:30 and getting up all together at 6:15.

Esther in Amsterdam
June 5, 2018

A follower on Instagram sent me this article about the need of sleep for teenagers which I thought is interesting to share:

July 30, 2018

Funny the whole stress and expectations around sleep routines.. my 3 year old goes is asleep 20:30 – 21h, we found that the earlier the bedtime routine the longer it lasts.. hubby reminds me occasionally about what others do and say, and I make him realize our babe always slept less than others but later. Its in the genes 😉 Also a qs curious, do your kids all sleep in the same bed? Thinking of sleeping arrangements as our family is growing. (Would love a post on that ;))

Courtney in Australia
July 30, 2018

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your comment.
I’ve written before about how my boys have always shared a bed. Here’s the post:
I’ll try to write an updated post on this topic soon!

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